Travelling hundreds of kilometres with children in the back seat is no walk in the park, but fear not - there is a solution: keep them occupied. And contrary to popular belief, that doesn’t require a screen!
The first hour after setting off tends to go pretty well, and with a bit of luck, as the excitement of the great departure starts to fade away, your children may even fall asleep for a bit. Two hours down, easily enough - hurray! But then things start to get a little tricky and the endless “Are we nearly there yet?”, “I'm hungry” and “I've got a bad tummy” starts. The beginning of the holidays can be a stressful time. Our tip to avoid getting off on the wrong foot would be to prepare well for your journey, and we don't just mean getting your car checked. Our recommendation would be to plan a range of activities for your children in advance so that they don't have to spend ten hours watching some sort of device.
To help prevent thirst, hunger and conflict, pack a small bag for each child containing something to snack on during the journey. Snacks, water and chopped-up fruit are good, as well as their cuddly toy, their favourite book and a little surprise bag containing a few new bits and pieces. These could be a toy to put together, a colouring book, a book of games or puzzles, a doll... it really doesn't matter, as long as it arouses their curiosity and engages them. You could also print out a map of your route so that your child can find where you are on the map and see how far you’ve come.
Music is, of course, a must on any car journey, so why not put together a special children's playlist a few days before your departure that you could even turn into a blind test. Another good idea is to download a few podcasts for children and especially stories to listen to. Silence guaranteed.
Last but not least, there are the games, bingo being the hot favourite, the idea being to have a sheet of paper with things written or drawn on it that the child has to spot during the journey and then ticks off their sheet. These could include a cloud, a petrol station, a lorry, a police officer, a sandwich, a dog, a blue sign, the sea... whatever you like. This game offers the benefit of taking a long time to complete, as well as stimulating your young passengers’ senses of observation and attention. Then, of course, there are travel versions of various board games.
If you can, try to stop off during your journey to visit a museum or some form of monument that’s easily accessible from the motorway. Identify points of interest along your route in advance so that you can stop off there and help the journey feel shorter for the children. It’s also a good idea to take breaks every couple of hours. Somewhere where they can stretch their legs and let off some steam is great, if possible.
© Salomé JEKO
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Do you have any questions? A need for itinerary suggestions or information on the most suitable routes? The Conseils et Services Membres team is available Monday to Friday from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. on +352 450045-1 (ACL Bertrange) or +352 450045-2 (ACL Ingeldorf) or at firstname.lastname@example.org.